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David Bakhtiari’s knee issues have sent him down an arduous path back to the field, and it doesn’t appear to be over.
The Packers star left tackle played just 27 snaps in 2021. He’s not ready for another just yet.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst told reporters Wednesday the tackle underwent another procedure on his knee during the offseason and declined to offer a timetable on Bakhtiari’s potential return, adding he’s “cautiously optimistic” about the two-time All-Pro’s recovery, via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman. Bakhtiari officially was placed on the team’s physically unable to perform list last week.
In January, Bakhtiari detailed his frustrations with his knee injury while explaining he needed time off to properly heal before being able to play again. The story continued into the spring when Bakhtiari sat out of all offseason activities as part of Green Bay’s plan to get him “strong and hopefully be ready to go for training camp,” as coach Matt LaFleur described it in late May.
Bakhtiari’s prolonged journey grows more worrisome with each passing month without on-field activity, but there’s a valid reason for his extended absence: The injury was “much more than an ACL,” Gutekunst said Wednesday.
Still, at 30 years old with his 31st birthday coming in September, Bakhtiari doesn’t exactly have an endless supply of time. Green Bay expects to contend immediately, but without their left tackle, the Packers might have to make do for what could be a second consecutive season.
The good news: Green Bay could get another key lineman back earlier than expected. Gutekunst told reporters guard Elgton Jenkins is “ahead of schedule in his recovery from an ACL injury, per The Packers Wire’s Zach Kruse.
As for Bakhtiari, the Packers are keeping his seat warm.
“He’s a pro’s pro,” LaFleur said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein, “and when he’s ready we’ll welcome him back.”
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